Christmas Crackers

Volume 6, Issue 137; 26 Dec 2003

A Christmas tradition.

Where did you get that hat?

J. J. Sullivan

From the English side of my family, I inherited the tradition of “Christmas Crackers.” These are paper tubes with a noisemaker inside (a couple of cardboard sticks glued together with a little gunpowder or a similar explosive). They make a quite satisfying little “crack” when pulled apart.

Christmas Cracker
Christmas Cracker

Also inside: a paper hat (that, not only have I worn, but occasionally I’ve convinced others to wear as well, at least for a short time), a small trinket of some sort, and a riddle.

The riddles are often spectacularly bad. This year:

Q: Why is an elephant large and wrinkly?

A: Because if it were small, white and smooth it would be an aspirin!

You can buy crackers in the U.S. these days in specialty shops like Williams and Sonoma. I’m sure you can find some in the after-Christmas holiday sales. Get some for next year; start a tradition.